IDF Courts in West Bank Cancel Just 2.6% of Palestinian Administrative Detention Orders

Report summing up activities between 2009 and 2011 also shows Israel's High Court of Justice has never accepted a single Palestinian’s petition on such an order.

Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson
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Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson

Israel Defense Forces courts in the West Bank canceled only 2.6 percent of the administrative detention orders issued against Palestinians, according to a report summing up the courts’ activities between 2009 and 2011 provided to Haaretz.

In addition, Israel's High Court of Justice has not accepted a single Palestinian’s petition regarding an administrative detention order.

Administrative detention orders against Palestinians in Judea and Samaria are signed by OC Central Command on the Shin Bet’s recommendation. From there, they go for approval to the Court of Administrative Affairs in Judea and Samaria. That court’s decision can be appealed at the military court of appeals, and petitions against these decisions can be submitted to the High Court of Justice. So far, however, every such appeal has been rejected.

According to the report, intended as an internal document to evaluate the courts' behavior, between 2009 and 2011, OC Central Command signed 2,876 administrative detention orders.

Of them, only 77 were canceled while 1,667 remained in force. The terms of 1,141 were shortened, and of these only 156 were classified by the court’s management as a substantial shortening of the term, which is defined as “a shortening of the order, at the end of which the military commander is restricted from extending the term of administrative detention.” This is unlike a non-substantial shortening of the term of administrative detention, which can be extended by the military commander.

In 2011, 855 administrative detention orders were issued. Of them, 539 were fully approved, 21 were cancelled and 272 were shortened. Of the 272 that were shortened, 26 of them were shortened substantially. The percentage of orders approved in the form in which they were issued increased by 64 percent as compared with the previous year. The number of orders that were canceled increased as well.

Two-thirds of the orders that were issued in 2011 were extensions of administrative detention orders that had been issued in the past. Recently, the Supreme Court criticized the military courts and the Military Advocate General Corps for their actions in extending the administrative detention orders.

Last January, Jaber Mamduh Abra petitioned the High Court of Justice against the administrative detention order issued against him. His attorney, Fadi Kawasmi, claimed that in the hearing that took place in the military court, the Military Advocate General’s representative answered his questions rudely and refused to answer pertinent questions, claiming that the answers were “confidential.”

After Supreme Court Justice Uri Shoham, a former judge advocate general, examined the list of questions in the protocols and the confidential material that had been submitted, he wrote, “It appears there was no security-related reason why all the questions could not be answered without harming sources of information or state security.”

Regarding the military judge’s performance during the hearing, he wrote, “The military court has a special and heightened duty. It must examine the confidential material with caution and great care, and wherever possible, it must provide the detainee’s attorney with details and information from the confidential material. I fear that the military court did not do so, and I am not convinced that it spoke on the appellant’s behalf during the hearing.”

Shoham turned down the petition.

“The Supreme Court’s ruling on the matter was accepted by the Military Advocate General Corps, which will study the details of the ruling and apply them where needed," the IDF Spokesperson’s Office said.

Palestinian hunger striker Samer Issawi's case reached the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court in 2012.Credit: Oren Nachshon

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